Mar 08

The Simple Beauty of “Grand Concourse”

Photo by Glenn Perry Photography; full stage with cast.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

March 3-April 1, 2017
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) While I try not to make a habit of going to see religious shows, there’s something about the themes of religion that is compelling. They bring people together and allow them to question anything from faith and love to forgiveness and existence. And while playwright Heidi Schreck’s Grand Concourse manages to tackle all of these, what’s captivating about the show is that it does so without forcing religious concepts. Continue reading

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Oct 08

Goddess Dumps “Kansas City Choir Boy”: A Love Story

Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Photo: Evgenia Eliseev

 

Presented by A.R.T.
Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Musical Direction by David Bloom

October 1 – 10, 2015
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Courtney Love stars as Athena, the idealized, former girlfriend of the titular Kansas City Choir Boy (Todd Almond). The show begins when he sees a news story on TV that she’s been found dead in a New York City park.This touches off either a series of memories or a fantasy in which the two spend the show singing love songs to each other. Continue reading

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Nov 12

Book Review: “Undesirable Elements: Real People, Real Lives, Real Theater”

“Undesirable Elements: Real People, Real Lives, Real Theater” by Ping Chong

by Ping Chong
Theatre Communications Group: New York, 2012
$17.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

A compilation of four selected scripts in the Undesirable Elements series by writer, director and producer Ping Chong as well as collaborator interviews and methodology. These poly-language scripts demonstrate the potential to combine the arts of storytelling, theater and poetry into a community building/affirming production. These performances are capable of reaching out to a broader theater audience (an audience perhaps jaded by conventional theater) to experience dramatic communication in ways that some artists only dream of. It is art that uses personal experience to reveal truths of the larger world community rather than using art to glorify aspects of “Other” within a community. Undesirable Elements offers a shocking exploration of the lives of social outsiders and presents them as whole, human people sometimes contrary to the perception of much of society. These works refreshingly present the players’ perspective without unintended bias. Because bias exists whether it is intended or not. Continue reading

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May 08

Small Theatre Alliance of Boston: A Force for Good Theatre

IN THE DARKNESS

OF A SMALL THEATRE

CREATING NEW, CHALLENGING, AND EXCITING

PRODUCTIONS, WHERE RESOURCES AND INFORMATION WERE SCATTERED

A GROUP OF ARTISTS JOINED TOGETHER TO INCREASE COMMUNICATION BY FORMING

THE SMALL THEATRE ALLIANCE OF BOSTON

Interview with John Geoffrion by Becca Kidwell

Between 2009 and 2010, Meg Taintor, Daniel Morris, Nora Long, and other small theatre leaders joined together to form the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston share resources, information, ideas, and support each other. Continue reading

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Nov 08

November: You’re What You Own

Photo by Reid Gilman

November by David Mamet, Hovey Players, 11/4/11-11/19/11,  http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/november/.  Mature language and themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Waltham, MA) Jonathan Larson wrote, “when you’re living in America…you’re what you own…”; this idea is taken to the highest degree in David Mamet’s November.  Hovey Players hits the heartstrings of the nation as it skillfully examines American politics and policy as we struggle to define what a democracy is and what we are willing to sacrifice for that democracy. Continue reading

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Jun 15

The Normal Heart: “We must love one another or die”

Photo: Joan Marcus

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, The Golden Theatre, Broadway, 4/27/11-7/10/11. http://www.thenormalheartbroadway.com/. Winner of Tony Award for Best Revival, Best Featured Actress, and Best Featured Actor.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

WH Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939” (from which the title of the play is derived) states that “no one exists alone”. That statement reaches to the heart of the AIDS movement as we acknowledge the thirtieth anniversary of the first diagnosed case and continue to strive for full equality for every human being. Larry Kramer’s revolutionary play not only remains wholly relevant since its original production in 1985, but also challenges us to see that we have not gone far enough and there is still much work to be done. The cast shows that the only way we’re going to get through all the struggles is together. Continue reading

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Feb 05

RUMORS fly like bullets

Rumors by Neil Simon, Walpole Footlighters, 2/4/11-2/20/11, http://www.footlighters.com/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Photos by Dan Busler Photography

Walpole Footlighters breathes life into the wily, witty, wordsmith’s farce:  Rumors.  Although the script itself brings little to the genre other than being an obvious testing ground for Neil Simon, Walpole Footlighters offers a bubbly evening of laughs to take your mind off all of the snow.

The story surrounds an anniversary party gone awry:  the wife and the servants have run off, the host has shot himself in the ear, and the guests try to cover up an apparent scandal.  Comic craziness ensues.

Led by David Giagrando, the cast is able to overcome some of the script’s flaws.  Giagrando, as Lenny Ganz, tries to control the situation and fails hilariously; his performance produces the perfect neurotic New York yuppie while using every subterfuge in his arsenal (including a wonderfully performed “story” in the second act) to keep the host’s secret from getting into the news.  Barbara Shapiro and James Merlin (as Cookie and Ernie Cusack) amplify the neuroses with their screwball personalities and actions.  Shapiro’s physical comedy provides some of the funniest moments of the night.

While the script itself drags in some places, the show overall provides an enjoyable evening of belly laughs that remind us of a simpler time (who ever thought the 80’s would be called that?) when appearance was the only important thing.  Walpole Footlighters provides a delightful production to get you outside of the city and outside of yourself.  2/4/11.  TNETG.

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Dec 30

Building Relationships

Barefoot In The Park by Neil Simon, Zero Point Theater, 12/28/10-1/2/11.  http://www.zptheater.com/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Zero Point Theater, a relatively new theatre company, brings Neil Simon’s crowd-pleasing favorite Barefoot In The Park to the stage.  While a few of the references from the 1963 play are dated, the integrity of this piece—underscoring the complexity of developing relationships—remains sound, along with the majority of the quips and witty dialogue that Simon is famous for. Continue reading

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Nov 10

Let x Equal Much Promise

Proof by David Auburn, Curtain Call Theatre, Braintree, MA  11/5/10-11/13/10 http://curtaincallbraintree.org/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Take x; add a strong cast and tight direction to a Pulitzer Prize winning script, and the result will be Curtain Call Theatre’s production of Proof.   The small theater group embodies two of the main themes of the play:  testing theories and proving yourself.

The cast brings strength and soul to the script.  At the core is Sarah Jacobs.  This recent Brandeis University graduate possesses natural talent that creates an awkward, intelligent, and inwardly strong Catherine.  She has a few small affectations and a lack of cynicism, but those nuances will go away with life and career experience.  Dan Delaporta, as Hal, exudes energy and geekiness.  He displays both the self-centeredness and sensitivity that makes him a good match for Catherine.  Both actors will continue to thrive as long as they practice their craft and remain open to all opportunities. Continue reading

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